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Upcoming Symposium: Diverse Technologies for Diverse Minds

Landmark College will host its second annual LD Innovation Symposium, “Diverse Technologies for Diverse Minds,” in Putney, Vermont. The event will include three distinguished guest speakers. The keynote speaker is Ben Foss, a nationally recognized disability advocate and the founder of Headstrong Nation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the LD community. Two other speakers, Dr. Jon Landis from Apple, Inc., and Dr. Mark Hakkinen from Educational Testing Service (ETS), will talk about the transformative power of technology in education. The event also includes technology demonstrations and a panel of college students discussing how they use technology in academics.

Date: October 3, 2014 (Friday)

Location: Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building, Landmark College

Time: 9 a.m.

“The LD Innovation Symposium is a celebration of the power of human diversity to lead innovations that become best practices,” said Dr. Manju Banerjee, vice president and director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT).

This event is part of a three-decade tradition to advance knowledge about LD during the month of October. In 1985, U.S. President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation naming LD Awareness Month. He wrote, “The crowning wonder of our marvelous universe is the human brain…an organ of awesome complexity that allows thoughts to be transmitted from one person to another across the centuries, across the barriers of language, custom, and place.” October is also ADHD Awareness month, first designated as a single day in 2004 by the U.S. Senate and later expanded.

Since 1985 and the first LD Awareness Month, knowledge about neuro-development, cognition, and classroom behavior has grown substantially. An organ of “awesome complexity,” the brain is also an organ of awesome diversity from one individual to the next. New knowledge spurs new approaches, and a major change since 1985 is the idea that education should match the myriad ways that individuals learn rather than offering “one size” for all. The LD Innovation Symposium showcases creative, tech-enhanced ways that educators can help diverse minds learn.  

Banerjee highlighted what participants can expect at the LD Innovation Symposium. “This year, we will see how educators and students are adopting and adapting innovations of today, such as apps, Google Glass, and 3-D printers to create a learning space that is uniquely their own."

Ben Foss, founder of Headstrong Nation

Keynote Address by Ben Foss
"A Blueprint for Learners: Using Technology to Support Students Who Learn Differently"

In his keynote address, "A Blueprint for Learners: Using Technology to Support Students Who Learn Differently," Ben Foss will discuss assistive and mainstream technologies that can help students thrive in an academic environment. Through innovation and accommodation, every classroom and workplace can be focused on people's strengths. Foss will provide participants with concrete recommendations for tools that can enhance the path to success for all students. Perhaps most importantly, these technologies help students feel included and enable them to move past a legacy of shame that can hold them back.

Foss is the former Director of Access Technology at Intel Corporation and the author of a new book, The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan. He draws on his own experiences as a person with dyslexia in exploring the strategies that can enable anyone to become a higher performing version of themselves.

Dr. Mark Hakkinen
"Accessibility and Current and Emerging Technologies"

Dr. Mark Hakkinen will discuss how advances in technology are energizing contemporary learning, teaching, and assessment. The possibilities afforded by technologies such as mobile devices, 3-D printers, and apps are making us rethink the traditional notion of "assistive technology.” Some of this sounds like science fiction, yet these new and emerging technologies are not so far away. Come to this session to learn about the possibilities of new technologies and their uses in the classroom.

Dr. Mark Hakkinen is a research scientist at Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey. He is an expert in accessibility and assistive technology and has worked in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Hakkinen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive science from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.  

Dr. Jon Landis
"Why Mobility Matters"

Jon Landis will discuss mobile pedagogy stemming from the fundamental shift in how we access content—in the classroom and out. This is not about technology fads or the latest gadgets. This is about creating scaffolding to  enable all learners a pathway to academic success and personal expression. Participants will explore the challenges and possibilities of a connected classroom. In addition to exploring the dynamics of a mobility-based education paradigm, the practical implementation strategies, hardware, and support necessary to improve learning opportunity will be examined. This session will cover three areas:

  • WHY - Why do education institutions need to explore mobility theory?
  • WHAT - What does a mobility rich environment look like?
  • HOW - How are schools around the world doing this?

Dr. Jon Landis is the U.S. Development Executive with Apple Inc. He is a former professor in the College of Education from Millersville University where he was the graduate coordinator of the Leadership Program and the Coordinator of the CyberSafe Institute. Jon holds a PhD in Sociology, a Master’s degree in Education Leadership, and a BS in Chemistry.  He has served as a chemistry instructor, principal, curriculum director, and IT Director. Dr. Landis speaks nationally on the opportunities associated with mobile technology in education. 

Early-bird registration will continue through Friday, September 19.

Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today, Landmark College is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with learning disabilities (including dyslexia), ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The College offers two- and four-year degree options, a graduate-level certificate in universal design with technology integration, and summer programs for students who learn differently. Students, faculty, and professionals from around the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model, designed through research and practice to help all students become confident, empowered, and independently successful learners.

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